By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Amanda Swimmer, an EBCI tribal elder from the Big Cove Community, cares deeply about the children in Cherokee and wants nothing but the best for them. She has been working tirelessly for several years now to bring to the forefront an issue that involves everyone associated with the Big Cove Community or the new Cherokee Central Schools – the re-opening of the old Big Cove Road.
Tribal Council passed a resolution, submitted by Principal Chief Michell Hicks on behalf of Swimmer, during their regular session on Thursday, Jan. 7 that requests “Congressman Heath Shuler, Senator Kay Hagan and Senator Richard Burr to coordinate with the National Park Service to reopen the old Big Cove Road for an alternate route to the Big Cove Community.”
Swimmer, who recently gathered 284 signatures on a petition to re-open the road, commented, “It’s not me wanting it. I feel sorry for those kids.” She said the safety of the children at the school is of utmost importance to her and it is important for there to be an alternate route for emergency vehicles going in and out of the Big Cove Community.
Chief Hicks told Council on Thursday, “I thank her (Amanda) for her work and especially going out to the community and gathering all of the signatures that she did.”
Big Cove Rep. Teresa McCoy asked if federal highway funds could be sought to rehab or re-open other older access roads to the isolated community. She also praised Swimmer for her efforts. “I do appreciate Ms. Swimmer and all of her efforts on this issue. I agree that that road should be back open.”
Big Cove Rep. Perry Shell agreed and commented, “Amanda, I appreciate your hard work in putting this together.” He said tribal officials should make this issue a priority during the upcoming USET meeting next month in Arlington, Va.